East Oxford food and craft stalls up for national BBC award

George Bennett from Sandy Lane Farm, Alex Towler from Natural Bread Co and Thiyanga Lekamwattage from Mayas Baker) show off their goods

George Bennett from Sandy Lane Farm, Alex Towler from Natural Bread Co and Thiyanga Lekamwattage from Mayas Baker) show off their goods

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

ONE of Oxford’s most popular markets has been named amongst the cream of the crop.

East Oxford Farmers’ Market has been held off Cowley Road every Saturday since August 2006.

It has now been named as a finalists in the BBC’s Food and Farming Awards in the category of Best Food Market after being nominated by its loyal customers.

The market, which takes place in East Oxford Primary School, sells food and craft products from within a 30 mile radius of the city and is run almost entirely by volunteers.

Market administrator Helen Hewlett said: “It is very rewarding to see that the customers feel that we are providing a market which is a great place to get quality local food.

“Our stall holders work very hard on farms and in kitchens to produce their items and you can feel the love in their food.

“What is special about the market is the community feel. We have got such a wide variety reflecting some of the communities.”

East Oxford Farmers’ Market currently attracts about 20 stall holders a week and some 500 shoppers.

As well as traditional market stalwarts such as fruit and veg it reflects a large array of cultures with stalls selling food from Japan, Italy and the Middle East.

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Charles Bennett runs Sandy Lane Farm in Tiddington with wife Sue and son George, and takes his veg to the market every other week.

He said: “We would be really stuck without the market. It has a real community feel and that is the real joy of these markets because you are not selling to an anonymous crowd.”

Momo Fujita-Clarkson goes to the market from Wolvercote to sell her Japanese food. She said: ”It is a very diverse market and that makes it special because everyone is willing to try different types of food.”

The ceremony will be taking place at Birmingham’s NEC on Wednesday, November 23, hosted by Sheila Dillon, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme.

Other local finalists in the BBC’s foodie awards are Rico’s Pizza Shack in the Best Takeaway category, a mobile wood burning oven which sells pizza around the county in villages such as Deddington and Long Hanborough.

Adrian Dolby of Barrington Park Estate in Burford is a finalist in the Farmer of the Year Award.

dfantato@oxfordmail.co.uk

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